Kansas Sportsbook aims to surpass the January 1st deadline and begin operations during the football season

TOPEKA — Sports betting in Kansas takes effect July 1, and the governor said Monday she’s optimistic state regulators will offer live betting as early as football season.

The new law will allow Kansans to bet on their favorite teams through the four state-owned casinos, which can use digital or in-person avenues to do business. Under the control of the Kansas Lottery, casinos can set up their own sportsbook in conjunction with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission or partner with up to three online bookmakers to launch mobile platforms.

To date, major operators such as Bally’s, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM have announced plans to partner with state casinos. Native American tribes can negotiate new or updated gaming contracts to accommodate sports betting, a process already underway, Gov. Laura Kelly said.

Regulators have until January 1, 2023 to have guidelines in place and be up and running, but Kelly gave a more optimistic timeline. She said the last goal she heard was for sportsbook to go live this fall, sometime during college or pro football seasons.

While projections vary as to how much the state will benefit from legal sports betting, Kelly touted the potential to help in critical areas once it is up and running.

“We’re not going to balance the budget with sports betting revenue, but every little bit helps,” Kelly said. “It allows us to fully fund our schools, fully fund our roads, and roll out broadband.”

The state Racing and Gaming Commission plans to present a set of draft rules at its July 22 meeting on how it will receive, review and approve proposed gaming facility contracts. At that point, the Commission can approve these rules.

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Under the new state law, 80% of sports betting revenue will go into a fund to lure a professional sports team to Kansas, adding to speculation that the state is intent on bringing the Kansas City Chiefs across the state line. But Kelly threw cold water on the idea during a news conference on Monday, saying all previous comments about the possibility were made with a tongue-in-cheek attitude.

“I have never approached the chiefs, nor anyone in my administration,” Kelly said. “In all honesty, the amount of money that bill would generate and put into that fund would not come close to what you would need to attract a top division team.”

In addition to the professional sports team fund, the law also provides for an economic crime fund to help with gambling addiction.

Casinos can make arrangements with professional sports franchises and venues such as Sporting Kansas City or the Kansas Speedway to place kiosks at their facilities so fans can place wagers while watching the game.

The long-awaited bill passed the House by a 73-49 vote, and in the closing hours of the veto session, the Senate followed suit by a 21-13 vote. The governor signed the law into law in May.

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